Earlier this year, the Big Cat and Endangered Wildlife Centre experienced a “baby boom” to five of their cheetah families, with a total of 17 cheetah cubs being born in one month. Overall the adorable cubs are healthy, and have been growing stronger with each passing day, with some of them having been recently moved to the teenage enclosure, to allow closer monitoring, as they reach this critical stage in their growth.
“For most of us the biggest highlights have been assisting in the preparation and feeding of the cheetahs and cats.”
This Wildlife Conservation Centre, which is based on a beautiful game reserve near Hoedspruit has established itself as a leading sanctuary for endangered wildlife as well as a breeding centre for several species at risk in South Africa, particularly the Cheetah.
The wildlife that have found a safe home at the centre are not limited to the many cheetah found there (including the King Cheetah) but also include the African Wild Dog, Black-Footed Cats, Lions, Leopard, African Wild Cats, Hyena, Ground Horn Bills, Sable Antelope and Rhino to name a few. The Centre has literally become a lifeline for many animals in need of care and a safe home in the local area and across South Africa. Where possible animals are rehabilitated and released into their natural habitat however this is not always possible and for many of the animals the Centre is now their home.
“In camp we lived with a young monkey, a young warthog, an African Wild Cat (a species) and a miniature dog, all rescued. They made for much entertainment and lots of chaos….. Elephants, giraffe, impala all came up close to observe us in the volunteer camp. A hippo would sometimes keep us from moving around easily in our jeep.” Mary, UK, aged 67
The volunteer programme has been updated recently, to include more veterinarian work, and volunteers who join this project will have the opportunity to work as part of the dedicated Wildlife Department, working up close and hands on caring for the many animals there. The Centre has an on-site veterinary clinicand observation area for sick and injured animals and volunteers may be involved in any medical attention the animals require whilst on the project.
Volunteers may also be involved in the release of animals into suitable areas where they have a second chance at life in their natural habitat. Earlier in the summer, a leopard had been trapped by a farmer for stealing his livestock, and was brought to the Centre to monitor for wellbeing. After a couple of months, a suitable spot was chosen and his droppings were spread to make him feel more comfortable in his new environment, a collar was fitted and the beautiful male leopard was released and sightings have been frequent.
Volunteers are accommodated in thatched huts – each sleeping two people – in a camp which is situated within the boundaries of a beautiful Private Game Reserve, which is home to the Big Five. Accommodation is basic, but clean, and separate facilities are available for male and female volunteers. The Centre are in the process of building guest accommodation, right next to the cheetah’s enclosure – so watch this space for progress reports on this exciting development…
“Thank you very much for everything! We never expected to get sooo close to all the animals in the centre, it was a really hands on and close up experience. Also the excursions were great! We saw a lot of the regions amazing landscape and an awesome sunset” Annete and David, USA
You can keep an eye on the cheetah cubs progress, by following their progress on Amanzi Travel’s Facebook page, to hear about all their antics and activities, and more news from this amazing Big Cat and Wildlife Conservation Centre.